This pose is a modification of Virasana. It provides a supported stretch to the abdomen, thighs, and deep hip flexors. It also improves digestion and helps to relieve menstrual pain.
Block, Bolster, Towel Roll
1) Begin by sitting onto a block (positioned to the low or middle setting) with a bolster positioned behind the spine. Your knees and shinbones should be on the mat, shins parallel.
2) Exhaling, release backward lowering the lumbar spine onto the bolster, first lowering onto your hands, then your forearms/elbows and finally onto your lower back and buttocks.
3) Position a towel roll under the cervical spine to maintain neck alignment.
4) Make sure to keep the thighs parallel and the knees on the ground. If the knees pop up increase the height of the support.
5) Remain in the pose for 3-5 minutes.
6) To come out from the pose, press from your forearms to your hands and slide down off the bolster and block.
1) Place a towel roll behind the knee joint to increase space of the joint in flexion (avoiding deep flexion of the knee).
2) Attempt Supta Ardha Virasa in which only one knee is bent into Virasana while the other leg is extended in front or bent with the foot flat on the floor. Recline onto the support. Repeat on the opposite side.
3) To further release the groins lay a sandbag across the top of the thighs. Gradually increase the weight.
4) Try bringing the arms overhead to the ceiling and then overhead with the palms facing upwards allowing the shoulders to externally rotate, the chest opening.
Breathe gently into the abdomen as the groins and thighs release. Imagine the muscles lengthening on each exhale. Soften any muscles that are tensed as you send nourishing breath into these areas.
Avoid this pose If you have any serious back, knee, or ankle problems without guidance from an experienced yoga instructor.